Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

3 John 1

Scripture

3 John 1:4-6

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,a]even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.

Observation

As a parent, verse 4 rung sweetly true; what a gift that would be – the joy of seeing my children walking in truth, living in a way that shares their love (an abundance and overflowing of the God-given love within) and living in a way that honors God.

Understanding

As a parent, verse 4 rung sweetly true; what a gift that would be – the joy of seeing my children walking in truth, living in a way that shares their love (an abundance and overflowing of the God-given love within) and living in a way that honors God.  And that starts with living a life of example – not just to our born and adopted children but to those we have leadership over or even just encounter. 

Life Application

We have an opportunity to start a ripple effect with each encounter…sharing God’s love with others, living in a way that honors Him, living in truth.  People are searching, let us be the answer!

God, use me today!  Give me your heart for others, may I honor you in speech and in action.  In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

 



2 John_1

Scripture  

2 John 1:5-6  Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.  And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.  This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.  

 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
In this letter, the author (presumably John the apostle) is writing to another church group.  He addresses this church as “lady” and its members as her “children.”  According to some scholars, this reference was common in the early church.  This letter, though short, covers man of the same topics as 1 John, including the false teachings and gnosticism which were present.  John is excited to hear that the church is acting rich in love to one another, and encourages them to pursue this effort even more deeply.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
“Is that how you want to be treated,” I say yet again, as one of my three sons takes a swing at another’s face.  I’m quite certain I heard the same lesson from my parents hundreds of thousands of times as a child.  Now I get to learn patience in the same way they did, slowly and agonizingly with the help of children.

I once had lofty goals of parenting.  My kids were going to change the world, be presidents and doctors etc.  I quickly learned the most two most important goals I have as a parent are simple: show them the love of Jesus Christ and teach them to show it to others.  There are other important lessons, but the ramifications of those really only last during this lifetime.  

Someone once asked Jesus what the most important commandment was.  In short he answered it like this, “Love God and love others.”  (Matthew 22:36-40)  The love that we show each other, and for those who are marginalized in society, displays the heart of God.  Jesus came to die for the whole world (John 3:16), even those we don’t necessarily want to show love to (Matthew 5:44).  This even applies to young siblings.

 
Life Application  
 
Jesus, let me hear clearly the words that you gave me through my parents and through your word, to love one another.  Help me to show this in both practical and extravagant ways.  Remind me to show it to my friends, family, and to those who I don’t care for as much.  Give me the grace to treat the ones I don’t like in the same manner as I would my mother or my children.
 
-Tyler Galloway   


1 Samuel_3

Scripture 

1 Samuel 3:7

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

Observation – What does it say?

Samuel ministered before the Lord in the temple under Eli. God called to Samuel 3 times, and each time he thought the voice was Eli’s. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Shortly after I surrendered my life to Christ, I was sitting in a church service in my parents church in Colorado where I grew up. My dad said something from the pulpit that struck me. “That was good. I should tell my dad later,” I thought. After service I forgot about it and didn’t say anything to my dad or anyone else about it.
 
Later that evening I visited another church, and during ministry time at the end of service, I went to the front for prayer. I was just hungry for more of God and wanted him to speak to me. The pastor began to pray for me, then he paused. “You don’t need another word from God. He speaks to you all the time.” I thought to myself, “Yea, right! This guy doesn’t know hat he’s talking about.” After a pause he continued, “God told you something earlier today about your dad.”
 
“What? How in the world could he know about that?!” I thought. I knew it could only have been that God revealed that to him.

Sometimes when God speaks, we mistake his voice for another.

As Samuel discovered that what sounded like Eli’s voice was actually God speaking, that day I learned that many times what I perceive to just be my own thoughts, are actually the voice of God. When I have ideas to do something good, to encourage someone, to pray for the girl with crutches at the grocery store, to share Jesus with someone at the gym, those thoughts don’t originate with me! And, I highly doubt Satan would be wanting me to do those things! So if it’s not Satan and it’s not me, it must be that God is the one speaking those thoughts and ideas.

Life Application

Ask God to help me discern his voice better. 

Whenever I think to do something good, recognize it’s most likely God and respond in obedience. 
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm_57

Sc‭‭ripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭57:7‬ ‭
 
“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
It’s hard to imagine, but David is writing this psalm in a cave, hiding from Saul and his men, and fleeing for his life! As David’s enemies are closing in on him, David finds comfort knowing that the God of the universe is on his side AND HIS GOD IS MIGHTY!!! So while most would cower, blame God, or turn their backs to Him, David worships Him and sings His praise.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Life’s storms wearing you down? Lean on God!
 
It could have been so easy for David to point the finger at God, turn His back away from Him, or even just plainly give up in life. I think many of us would under his circumstances. But instead of David having a self-pity attitude, David focuses his thoughts on God. By doing so, his heart begins to shift from being worried and scared, to one of confidence and strength. Because David knows his life is in God’s hands, and there is NOTHING in this world that God cannot handle!
 
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”-‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:27‬ ‭
 
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”-Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Relying on God for everything!
 
What a great reminder for me as I get ready to start the new month of prayer and fasting. A great way to start the new year is to re-focus my life and center it around God. It’s a great way to cleanse my life from all the things in life that have been distracting me away from Him. I guess you can say it’s a system reboot. But, it’s a great way to deepen my relationship with God and build that type of relationship that David had with Him. To be just as confident in God as David was, knowing no matter what life throws at me, my God will get me through it! How bad do I want that? How bad do we want that?! Are we willing to give up those distractions in our lives and call on the name of the Lord instead? Will you all join me this month with our prayer and fasting? Let’s see what God can do not only in our lives, but in our church, city, and nation as we seek Him earnestly!
 
-Moses Gaddi
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Psalm__56

Happy New Year! 2019!

 
Scripture
 
Psalm 56:3-4, 10-13 NIV
 
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?……In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
King David wrote this Psalm documenting when the Philistines had seized him in Gath. It’s a very interesting story. David pretended to be insane in order to escape Achish, king of Gath. Please see 1 Samuel 21:10-15 for the full story. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Troubles in life cannot be escaped. They must be faced in the strength of the Lord.

King David had fled from Saul because Saul intended to kill him (See 1 Samuel 20:30-34). However, David had found himself in a similar predicament when he fled to Achish, king of Gath. His troubles had followed him. As a result, David pretended to be insane in order to be set free because he was “very much afraid of Achish..” (1 Samuel 21:12). This is when he wrote Psalm 56. He was crying out to God because his enemies were in hot pursuit of him. He was encouraging himself out of his fear by remembering Who he must put his trust in and how mere mortals can do him no harm when God is on his side.  

 
Life Application
 
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 

Heading into a new year can be a joyous time, but also a fearful time for some. For some, it can mean new beginnings. For others, it may cause fear of what the new year may hold; Fear of the unknown. Regardless of the emotions that heading into a new year may bring, we must remember that as long as our trust and hope remains on Jesus Christ, it will be a great year and we can worship and be thankful because He remains good all the time!  Dear Lord, we invite You into this new year, of new seasons and new beginnings. We have faith that no matter what this year brings, it will be good because You are always good. Amen. Please listen to this song, You are My Hiding Place by Selah. https://youtu.be/_dR0H0tAYT8

-Michelle Gaddi



Ruth 4

Scripture

Ruth 4:4-6 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[b] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.” “I will redeem it,” he said. Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.” At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” Observation-What does it say?

[Now that we’ve had the “long, slow walk through Ruth” (courtesy of PG), this story holds a new meaning and interest for me.]  As we know, Boaz had been smitten when he saw Ruth in the field; but he upheld tradition with honor, seeking out the appropriate process and associated guardian-redeemer to give him the opportunity to claim what was “rightfully his” [according to the times] – to include both land and Ruth.

Understanding-What does it mean?

This is a beautiful love story – one built on honor, respect and obedience.  Just as PG had done in his sermon series, it’s also a great assimilation of the story of God, sending His son, Jesus, as the bridegroom – bearing our sins that we may have eternal life in heaven. 

Even as amazing as Ruth was – a woman of character, a hard worker, a caretaker for Naomi – she was seen as a potential “endangerment” to the designated guardian-redeemer’s estate.  An “endangerment” that Boaz was glad to take on because he saw her as valuable – not as property, but as a partner and someone he wanted in his life for the rest of it. 

The reason this struck me is…even as broken, unworthy, sin-filled humans, God sees us as valuable, lovable and people he wants to partner with (as we submit, we become His hands and feet in the world) and spend the rest of His life with (eternity).  It’s truly the greatest love story ever told! <3

Life Application

God, thank you for loving me and choosing me just as I am – in all my imperfection.  I’m grateful that we don’t have to be “good enough” to be chosen, to be sought after, to be loved!  Teach me to love like that.  Use me to let people know they are seen, valued, loved…not by me, but by a heavenly Father with a Father’s heart for them.

Big love to you above! <3

-Rei

 



1 John_1

Scripture:  1John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Observation-What does it say?  Though it is not labeled directly, the authorship of this letter is attributed to the apostle John.  The style and authoritative tone are strikingly similar to that in the fourth gospel.  In this letter, John addresses ideas and philosophies that were creeping into the church.  Much like today, the church was facing pressures from outside groups to incorporate things that were contrary to the gospel.  On top of that, some of those who were the most vocal of making these changes had abandoned the regular meetings, proposing that their spirituality had progressed beyond this.  

Understanding-What does it mean?  I took an art history class once, which was both fun and highly frustrating.  Some of the “opinions” of the meanings of different pieces of art, and the time periods they were made in, were swayed by the political and moral leanings of both the professor and the author of the text.  But I digress.  In the class we discussed the modern art movement and “art for art’s sake.”  The major theme in the modern art movement, which started in the late 19th century and carries through today, was the autonomy of art and the artists freedom of expression.  In other words, the art only needs to be an expression of the artist to be art, there was no longer the need to have any quality or mastery of form.  

And so, without any attention paid to form, purpose and true meaning, we are left with a cheap imitation of true art.  Where art was once defined by pieces like the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, we now see art in the form of “Lipstick urinals” https://collections.lacma.org/node/177865.  Similarly, we can experience the same cheapening in life when our focus is drawn away from truth.

The Christmas season used to be depressing for me, and for many it still is.  When the season is separated from the hope brought into the world through the birth of the messiah, we are left with celebrating for celebration sake.  The focus is then put on the presents and food, which always left me searching for more.  But when we remember that the birth of Jesus is where our hope begins, we can continue to celebrate on through the year and into eternity of the wonders of the love which Jesus showed to us.  In this time of the year, I am looking to celebrate the only one who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:13-16).

Life Application:  Jesus, thank you for coming to earth in the form of a man.  Thank you that you took on the weight of my sin by dying on the cross.  Thank you for making me complete.  Help me to always return my focus to you, the true light. 

-Tyler Galloway 



2 Peter_3

Scripture

2 Peter 3:1

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

Observation – What does it say?

Peter, in this letter he wrote to all believers everywhere, states his purpose for both letters. As one translation puts it, “to stir you up by way of reminder.” In other words, he wasn’t writing with some new information or breaking news to blow their minds. He was writing to remind them of things they already knew.

Understanding – What does it mean?

We don’t always need a new truth or new revelation. Sometimes, what is most necessary is for us to be reminded of something we’ve already heard or read or known. And the Holy Spirit will use that reminder to stir us up inside and get our minds focused in the right direction. 

Life Application

It’s easy to hear a sermon or open a passage of the Bible and start to half-listen or skim, thinking, “Oh, I’ve already heard this. I know where he’s going with this.” Or, “I’ve read this passage many times before and know it inside and out.” But as soon as we do, we close our spiritual ears and eyes and remove the possibility of God stirring us up. 

Possibly most harmful is doing this around the truths that are most central to our faith. If we aren’t careful, we become numb to phrases like, “God loves me,” “Jesus died on the cross,” “I’ve been forgiven of all my sins.” We experience little or no emotion around the most incredible truths in the universe! What a tragedy! 

This Christmas, that was my prayer; a request for God to open my eyes once again to see the power and great significance of Immanuel, God becoming man and dwelling among us. That God would restore my sensitivity where it’s been lost. And he’s begun to do so!

God, please forgive me! As I take time to remind myself and meditate on these great truths and promises, stir me up! Stir us up inside and change our thinking as you remind us of the truth. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Ruth_1

Scripture
 
Ruth‬ ‭1:1-2‬ ‭
 
“In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
A severe famine had hit the land of Judah. A man originally from Bethlehem, who now resides in Judah, named Elimelech, took his wife Naomi, and his two sons Mahlon and Kilion to live in the country, which wasn’t affected by the famine, Moab. One problem though, Israel and the people of Moab did not have a happy history. You see, the Moabites and their descendants were excluded from the congregation of Israel for 10 generations because of their idolatry (Deut. 23:1-4). And now you have Elimelech, (whose name means “My God is King”), take his family away from the land God has given them, to move to a land which He did not particularly approve of.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Trust God through the good times and the bad times.
 
Now I’m sure we all know the book of Ruth thoroughly by now from Pastor’s sermon series on it a couple months ago. But I just wanted to refresh our memories from it. 😊
 
Elimelech, the spiritual leader in his household, made a “business decision” he thought was best for his family here. Instead of trusting that God would provide, he tried to solve the problem himself by moving his family away from the land that God had given them. It would be a decision that would cost him dearly. Soon after his decision to move to Moab, Elimelech lost his own life, and also the lives of his two sons, leaving his wife widowed. Elimelech forgot the meaning of his name, “My God is King”. If he would of remembered it, he would of realized that he should have submitted to God’s ways, instead of doing it his own way. It’s a life lesson I know I can learn from. To know that when life’s troubles comes my way, am I going to trust my ways over His? Or am I willing to stand firmly in my faith, in my belief in Jesus? To know that nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26) and that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13).
 
Life Application
 
Walk by faith, not by sight.
 
Father God, help me to be a man who leads my family according to Your will and Your ways. May Your Holy Spirit continue to guide me and direct me in those ways. Help me to be that man who walks by faith not by sight. I know that even though things may look tough and there may be rough roads ahead, may You give me the discipline to ultimately trust in You, Your faithfulness , and Your goodness. May I seek Your purpose for me through it all Lord. In Your Holy name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
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Psalm__51

Merry Christmas everyone!

Scripture

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

Psalm 51:17 NIV

Observation-What does it say?

Psalm 51 is a very powerful one, as King David wrote it after being confronted by the prophet Nathan for committing adultery with Bathsheba. Please read 2 Samuel 12:1-13 for the full exchange between those two men. It basically led to David being convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and Nathan assuring David that his sin has been put away. He will not die.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Do our mistakes lead us to Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow?

Godly sorrow leads us to repentance, true inward change of the heart. Worldly sorrow is sorrow that doesn’t lead to inward heart change because it is a momentary sorrow. It is typically a result of getting caught and not wanting to deal with the consequences of our sin. 

King David’s Psalm demonstrates true godly sorrow and repentance from his heart. Also, the consequences of his sin led to him to draw closer to the Lord, not further away. 

Life Application

Repent and be healed! Move on!  Go and sin no more, just like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11)

As Bible.org states, “The tragic death of David’s son is a consequence of David’s sin, but it is NOT the penalty David deserves for his sin.”

There are consequences to sin. David and Bathsheba suffered the consequence of their sin, which was that they lost their son conceived as a result of their affair. However, King David’s response to that was quite humble. (Please see 2 Samuel 12:14-21).

Too many of us, after suffering the consequences of our sin, don’t move on. Consequences are meant to teach us, just like a parent who disciplines their child. However, it should train us to be stronger and better, not continue in the same unhealthy sinful cycle. David had his son by Bathsheba taken away as a consequence of his sin. Did he keep mourning after that? No. He moved on. 

Jesus came, died and resurrected to set us free to the guilt of our past. This Christmas and beyond, let’s truly live that out! The enemy no longer has a hold on us and his lies no longer have to keep us in bondage. We are conquerors because of Jesus, who is the reason why we celebrate today! 

Thank You Jesus for You, the most precious gift we could ever ask for. Amen! 

-Michelle Gaddi